Thailand. According to countryaah, Bangkok is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Thailand. The parliamentary elections in January became a triumph for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose party Thai straight Thai (‘Thais love Thais’) got just over 60% of the vote and 375 of the National Assembly’s 500 seats. Thus Thailand got its first one-party government under democratic rule. The big victory was explained by the country’s good economic development since Thaksin came to power and the government’s effective management of the tsunami disaster just over a month before the election. The police’s fierce fight against drug trafficking has also been popular among the people, despite being criticized by human rights groups.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym TH stands for the country of Thailand and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Supported by the election results, the government intensified its efforts against the separatist Muslim uprising in the country’s three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. A newly formed infantry division of 12,000 men was stationed in the south, and Parliament gave the Prime Minister far-reaching power to introduce exceptional laws such as the allows telephone interception, media censorship and curfew. The weakened opposition claimed in vain that the exception rules violated human rights and gave Thaksin as much power as previous military dictators. In November, for the first time, strict military laws were also introduced in parts of Songkhla province. However, the unrest continued and demanded around 500 lives during the year.
In October, Thai newspapers decided to launch a joint fund to run a campaign against laws that allowed politicians and business leaders – not the same people – to sue newspapers for slander and claim large damages. Both Prime Minister Thaksin and other members of his government have been running legal processes which the affected media companies have interpreted as attempts to silence critical news reporting.
In May, former central bank governor Rerngchai Marakanond was sentenced to a fine of approximately SEK 37 billion. This corresponds to the amount he spent in vain trying to keep the price of the Thai currency up during the financial crisis of 1997.
2014 Military dictatorship
During the period November 2013 – May 2014, the opposition conducted ongoing protests and demonstrations against the government – most often violent. The opposition demanded the departure of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The new series of demonstrations was triggered in November 2013 by a proposal for general amnesty for politicians. Including Yingluck’s brother Thaksin. However, the Amnesty Act was criticized from all sides and unanimously voted down in the Senate. However, the demonstrations continued. The protesters occupied several ministries and blocked traffic hubs. In December, the crisis worsened further as all 153 members of the opposition withdrew from the House of Representatives.Yingluck responded again by dissolving parliament and printing new elections for holding in February 2014. The election was sabotaged by the opposition, which blocked the polls in Bangkok and southern Thailand. The blockades were implemented because the opposition was well aware it would lose the election as it had lost the previous 4 elections. The election result was then canceled by the Constitutional Court, which only helped to deepen the crisis. Yingluck was now only sitting as acting prime minister, while protests continued against her. On May 7, the Constitutional Court detained her and 9 other ministers, citing the transfer of a security officer in 2011 was illegal. On May 20, the military put the country in exceptional condition, and on the 22nd it completed the last part of the military coup and deployed General Staff CommanderPrayut Chan-o-cha on the post of Prime Minister. The general dissolved the last demonstrations, took full control of the media, introduced censorship of the Internet, declared the country in military state of emergency, banned assemblies of more than 5 people, and arrested politicians and opponents who have petitioned for military courts.
On July 22, the General issued a temporary constitution granting him amnesty for having carried out the coup and endowing him with extensive powers of power. In accordance with the dictator’s “constitution”, a “parliament” was established on July 31, consisting almost exclusively of people from the military and the police – appointed by the dictator himself. On August 21, he formally appointed parliament to be prime minister. The post he had already held for 3 months.
In June, 220,000 Cambodian migrant workers fled the country after the dictatorship’s rhetoric against foreigners had been sharpened.
The dictatorship lowered Thailand into a darkness of fear of censorship, arbitrary arrests and torture. In December, 14 Thais were arrested for using hand signs from the movie Hunger Games. The hand signs were seen as a threat to the dictatorship. The country’s school students and students are forced to recite every day the “12 values” formulated by the dictator.